Emmerdale trans star Ash Palmisciano hit with ‘disturbing’ threats

Emmerdale star Ash Palmisciano has played Matty Barton on the ITV soap since 2018, and has opened up about the abuse he has faced from trolls for being trans.

In his current storyline, Matty has found himself in prison after accidentally stabbing Samson Dingle (Sam Hall), where he has tried to keep his identity a secret from his fellow inmates, for fear of backlash.

Over the years, Matty has faced some cruel comments from villagers, and actor Ash has reflected on having similar experiences.

‘Like Matty, I’ve experienced trolling. I’ve heard horrific language and had disturbing threats,’ he told The Mirror, before adding that he believes some of the comments come from people who ‘don’t mean to be transphobic’.


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‘It’s partly because of the lack of education on being trans,’ he explained.

‘I’ve been called things like ‘that tr***ie from Emmerdale’. One time, a guy had clearly had a lot of alcohol, he was angry and aggressive and came up to my face and told me, “No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be a man.” I know he’d had a lot to drink but surely he must have known how hurtful that can be?

‘If I’ve been in a scene there’ll be nice messages, but there’ll also always be trans­phobic com­­ments.’

Matty sits in his cell in EmmerdaleMatty sits in his cell in Emmerdale
Ash reveals that he tries not to let the comments get to him, explaining that he makes joke videos out of some of the most inappropriate comments he gets.

Unfortunately, it isn’t just words that Ash has to deal with.

‘People touch my chest to check I’m a man and ask me to prove I’m a guy. I wouldn’t dream of going up and touching someone I don’t know.’

Fortunately, Ash also gets many more positive comments, as he explained to Metro.co.uk.

Ash Palmisciano draped in the trans flag

‘I’ve had mums and grandmas message me that perhaps have grandchildren or family members that happen to be trans and they’ve said it’s amazing that we’ve got a reference point to think it’s similar [to their situation].

‘I received a letter once from a younger person who was trans and was transitioned or thinking about it, and they said it was really difficult for them at school. They were out as trans and it was really hard. But when my character started on TV, it got easier for them to explain who they were. To be able to make someone’s life a bit easier is a huge honour.

‘That’s so important growing up to show you the way to say, “Actually, you can be trans, have a great career and achieve everything you want in life. It doesn’t set you back, you’re not strange and you deserve to be yourself.”‘

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